After giving up 51 points to Maryland in Week 1, Texas reevaluated the defense and presented the Trojans with a look that was highly active up front.
For their part, the Bears are coming off a victory over Ole Miss.
USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter. The Bears opened their year by winning a thrilling matchup against North Carolina. Between those games, they whomped Stanford, which is the most impressive thing they've done yet. Among them was defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. Wilcox was out; in came Clancy Pendergast, a former USC defensive coordinator who left Los Angeles for a stint in the NFL. USC has beaten Cal 13 times in a row.
"That's the best two-minute drive I've ever been associated with", USC coach Clay Helton said after the game.
Cal might actually be a risky contender against USC, but do not count USC out though.
Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday. Others injured or nursing some sort of ailment include DT Rasheem Green, RB Ronald Jones II, LB Uchenna Nwosu, WR Steven Mitchell, and CB Ajene Harris. USC only had to go 20 yards to set up a game tying kick. The touchdown came on a fourth down that Wilcox had apparently made a decision to go for before the third down failed, and Cal's speed in getting the play off was hugely advantageous.
Cal might offer a formidable test, led by Wilcox and defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter. From 2012-15, Fresno State averaged almost 25 takeaways when DeRuyter's fingerprints were all over the Bulldogs' defense.
So USC's defense gave the offense a hand.
Darnold will throw another handful of touchdowns, but he will also have another costly interception that keeps Cal in this contest. The Longhorns always bring that Texas swagger to L.A., and Saturday they didn't disappoint.
To that, Goff didn't waste much time to respond, cheering "Go Bears!" and saying California would go "4-0".
After playing their first three games at home, USC will hit the road to face off against Cal Berkley. They enter this game ranked near the bottom (126 out of 130 FBS teams) in passing defense at 338.3 yards per game.
Darnold continued to struggle, rolling out of his pocket time and time again to launch arcing tosses to junior wide receiver Deontay Burnett that couldn't find their target.
-QB Sam Darnold had some issues in Week 3, although an ineffective run game and dropped passes did him no favors. This can be problematic for USC because Cal's secondary has been successful forcing interceptions. Justin Wilcox would no doubt love to be the man that helps break this streak, especially given his ties to the Trojans.
The 16 points the Rebels scored were at least a full touchdown and extra point less than what 11 of 12 Golden Bear opponents scored in 2016 - when Cal finished next to last nationally in scoring defense for a second time in four years. They all suffered their injuries in last week's game against Texas, a 27-24 double overtime victory. Now they need to take the next step and beat the Bears handily.
A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.
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